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BJP to go easy on Gujarat rebels

india Updated: Jan 01, 2008 04:32 IST
Shekhar Iyer
Shekhar Iyer
Hindustan Times
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The BJP has called a meeting of its national executive and national council here from January 27 to 29 to take stock of the political situation and make preparations for the next round of assembly polls in several states and the Lok Sabha elections in 2009.

While the party’s national executive will meet on January 27, the national council will take place on January 28 and 29 where state leaders will discuss various issues.

The meeting will take place against the backdrop of the BJP’s win in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh and the anointing of L.K. Advani as Prime Minister candidate of the party.

A decision was also taken to put off any action on Gujarat rebel leaders including Keshubhai Patel and Kashiram Rana and two suspended BJP MPs by referring the matter to the party’s disciplinary panel. Soon after his victory, Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi had gone to meet Patel and asked his supporters to “forgive” those partymen who did support him.

The decision to hold the conclave was finalised at a meeting of BJP general secretaries presided over by party chief Rajnath Singh on Monday. Earlier, the party had thought of holding it in Bangalore where the assembly polls are expected to be held in February-March. But the state unit expressed inability to hold it when preparations were afoot for the elections.

Karnataka is top priority for the BJP as it wishes to show that a winning cycle that began with Gujarat and covered Himachal Pradesh will embrace that state too.

Meanwhile, the BJP asked the Election Commission to undertake a review of polling stations across the country and preparation of voters list.

It also wanted the Election Commission to expedite the issuing of voter identity cards and a revision of voters list in the first three months of the New Year.

“At least 25 per cent of the polling stations are far off and difficult for voters to reach. We want the Election Commission to undertake a comprehensive nationwide review of the location of polling stations,” senior BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said.

Naqvi, along with JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav, told reporters that the delegation urged the poll body to launch a large-scale campaign in the first three months of 2008 to review the location of polling stations, revise voter rolls and to complete the process of issuing of voter cards.

It also asked the Election Commission to think about setting up mobile polling booths in case it was finding it difficult to relocate existing polling stations. Naqvi said the government must clear the 'confusion' on the delimitation exercise immediately.